Thomas Mather, Entomologist at University of Rhode Island

Thomas Mather

Tick Boot Camp Podcast
Dr. Thomas Mather was featured on the Tick Boot Camp Podcast:


Dr. Thomas Mather, also known as “The Tick Guy,” is a leading expert in tick ecology, area-wide tick control strategies, tick-bite protection, and tick-borne disease prevention. As the director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center, Dr. Mather’s research has received funding from various sources, including the National Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States (US) Agency for International Development, and the National Institutes of Health.

The TickEncounter Resource Center, which Dr. Mather directs, is dedicated to promoting tick-bite protection and tickborne disease prevention by engaging, educating, and empowering people to take action.

Dr. Mather’s TickSmart Program focuses on providing people at risk for dangerous tick encounters with simple, effective strategies – everyday practices – for TickSafe living. Their goal is to make tick-bite protection easy so that you’ll actually “do it”. The center provides people with simple, effective strategies for living tick-safe every day, such as daily tick check cards, shower cards, toilet stall cards, and tick ID magnets.

Find a tick? Or just curious about tick activity in your region? Maybe you want to discover tick encounter risk across the country before your next trip? Pick a date and pick a region, then use Dr. Mather’s online tool to get started.

The TickSpotters initiative, administered by Dr. Mather, provides people with accurate, timely tick identification information, as well as science-based risk assessments tailored to their tick. Submit your tick photo and get a free tick ID by a tick expert along with guidance on the best next actions to lessen your risk of future tick bites and tickborne disease.

Additional Resources

  • Tick Species: get a detailed breakdown of tick species and what each looks like during every stage of their lifecycle
  • Tick Grown Comparison Chart: see how different species of ticks change appearance as they feed
  • Tick Anatomy: what a tick expert looks at first when identifying a tick
  • Is It Really a Tick: about 1 in 20 (5%) crowdsourced submissions to TickSpotters is not a tick at all but a tick look-alike instead

Tick Control
In interacting with public health officials, industry partners, and homeowners victimized by disease-carrying ticks, Dr. Mather and his team approach the Lyme disease problem from multiple directions. Their research has led to the development of unique targeted tick control strategies, including spatial models of disease transmission risk that help identify habitat characteristics associated with high and low risk.

Public Health
Dr. Thomas Mather’s research on ticks and tick-borne diseases is a significant contribution to public health. His work has helped to develop new strategies for tick-borne disease prevention and control. Dr. Mather’s dedication to this field will continue to have a significant impact on public health and tick-born illnesses, both in the United States and worldwide.